The Roundup -

Watford City Hosts 'One Book Dakota' Project


In a joint effort with the South Dakota Humanities Council and the 125th Anniversary Committees from the states of North and South Dakota, the North Dakota Humanities Council will commemorate the entry of South and North Dakota into statehood with a special One Book collaboration.

"Dakota: A Spiritual Geography" by Kathleen Norris will serve as the joint One Book for the two states in 2014. The humanities councils in North and South Dakota will engage residents in literary programming based on Norris' New York Times bestselling book, in which she paints "a fine portrait of the High Plains and its people as well as a very personal memoir of a spiritual awakening," according to Publishers Weekly.

Norris will conduct a sixteen-city tour in North and South Dakota, arriving in Watford City, ND on Friday, June 13th. She will be presenting a reading and book signing at the Pioneer Museum, 5 p.m.

 "The South Dakota Humanities Council is very pleased to be able to work with our neighboring state on this very special and unprecedented One Book collaboration," said Sherry DeBoer, executive director for the South Dakota Humanities Council. "We are excited to commemorate both states' heritage with the brilliant work of a tremendous author."

A joint special edition of the book has been printed and free copies are being distributed to libraries across both states. Statehood logos and language indicating the joint selection as the North and South Dakota One Book will appear on the front book cover. The North Dakota Humanities Council is also sponsoring book discussions in communities across the state focused on "Dakota."

"When Sherry called and asked if North Dakota wanted to partner on this project, I was thrilled," said Brenna Gerhardt, executive director of the North Dakota Humanities Council. "When it was written, Norris's book represented the Dakotas to the nation, and it still does. When I travel and tell people I'm from North Dakota, I often have people ask me if I've read "Dakota." Revisiting her book is a lot like looking in the mirror and thinking, 'Is this how people see us?' I'm curious to see if people will agree with the picture she paints of us or find it as appealing as people from outside our borders do."

Norris is an award-winning poet, writer, and author of The New York Times bestsellers "The Cloister Walk," "Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith," "The Virgin of Bennington" and the 2014 One Book, "Dakota: A Spiritual Geography." "Dakota" is a former New York Times Notable Book of the Year and was selected at the time of its printing as one of the best books of the year by Library Journal.

The San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle calls Norris "one of the most eloquent yet earthbound spiritual writers of our time."

Watford City will host a meet and greet with Kathleen Norris on Friday, June 13th at 5 p.m. at the Pioneer Museum of McKenzie County.  

The Pioneer Museum of McKenzie County has received a grant from the North Dakota Humanities Council to distribute 25 copies of Norris' book "Dakota: A Spiritual Geography."

Area book clubs and residents are encouraged to pick up a copy and attend the June 13th event.  

The event is free and open to the public. For more about the North Dakota Humanities Council and the One Book program, visit

To obtain a copy of "Dakota: A Spiritual Geography" by Kathleen Norris, contact Jessie Scofield at [email protected] or stop by the Pioneer Museum of McKenzie County or the McKenzie County Public Library.

The full North Dakota tour includes:

Mon. June 9 – Grand Forks (Fire Hall Theater, 7 p.m.)

Tues. June 10 – Ellendale (Ellendale Opera House, 7 p.m.) 125th Joint Event with Frederick, South Dakota featuring a Sense of Place concert

Wed. June 11 – New Rockford (The Opera House, 7 p.m.)

Thurs. June 12 – Minot (Taube Museum, 7 p.m.)

Fri. June 13-Watford City (Pioneer Museum, 5 p.m.)

Mon. June 16 –Hettinger, ND (Mirror Lake Park, 7 p.m.) 125th Joint Event with Lemmon, SD featuring a public picnic at 5:30 p.m. and a Sense of Place concert at      7 p.m. with Jessie Veeder and Chuck Suchy

Sat. October 4 – Bismarck (Bismarck State College, Campus Read Event, 2 p.m.)


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